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2 of a kind

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KEVIN KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Freshmen Hassan Adams (left) and Andre Iguodala have become close friends since arriving in Tucson. Both bring athleticism to the team, which will allow UA to use a full-court press during the season.
By Maxx Wolfson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 16, 2002

Adams, Iguodala form strong bond on court, around campus, and even through their tattoos

Three years ago, a young Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas did everything together. Though one was from the Midwest and the other from Southern California, the two quickly bonded. They were even nicknamed Batman and Robin.

This year's version of the superheroes is the duo of Andre Iguodala and Hassan Adams.

They both live together in La Paz Residence Hall, they both play similar positions on the basketball court, they both want to represent their hometowns, and they both have a brand-new tattoo to prove it.

"When we play together, it's always the same," said Adams, who prepped at Westchester High School in Los Angeles. "We try to encourage each other, and we get on each other if one isn't doing right and give each other advice."

Even during yesterday's media day, when head coach Lute Olson was asked to talk individually about each of the four freshmen, he talked about Adams and Iguodala at the same time.

"They are going to have an impact on this basketball team and there is no question about that," Olson said. "They are quick learners and have great athleticism. They are certainly two guys who should play in an up-tempo style of basketball."

Even Gardner, now a senior, has noticed how close the two freshmen have become.

"They're real close," he said. "They don't come out of the locker room without holding each other's hand. They won't play a pickup game unless the other plays. They go to the training room together. I think it's a lot of fun when you have a good friend like that.

"When you're a freshman you go through the same things as far as being picked on. Gilbert and I were the same way."

But Adams and Iguodala almost didn't end up at the same school.

Iguodala, who attended Lanphier High School in Springfield, Ill., originally committed to Arkansas. But after Razorback coach Nolan Richardson's contract was bought out after last year, he wanted out.

"When I first made my commitment to Arkansas, I thought it was a good decision but I'm definitely happy now," said Iguodala, who had to go through an appeal process with the NCAA to get his release from Arkansas.

Adams was surprised that Iguodala originally chose Arkansas over Arizona after the two were roommates in Nike Camp in December and made their recruiting trips to Tucson at the same time.

"I said I was thinking about coming here during Nike camp and we stayed in touch," Adams said. "I made sure to talk to him after he decided to come here and I said ╬You should have made this decision first.'"

"It was important how things had to work out for Andre to get here but we always felt from the get-go that we would get Andre," Olson said. "As Andre's mom told me after he changed, ╬The man upstairs has a way of making sure if you blow it the first time that second time the right decision is made.' As far is Andre is concerned I'm not sure that this wouldn't have been the better choice all along."

But now Iguodala is in Tucson and couldn't be happier.

The duo's first public appearance in Tucson was Friday night at "Midnight Madness," when both players showcased their athletic ability in the slam-dunk contest.

Iguodala won the contest and Adams was a close second.

Even though Olson knows that both can jump out of the gym, he has been more impressed with their defense so far. He even went as far as calling them the two best freshmen defensive players to play for him since Reggie Geary.

"Usually when freshmen come in, they aren't very good on defense," Olson said. "They might even be more advanced on the defensive end of the basketball than on the offensive side."

That will allow Olson to use a full-court press defense for all 40 minutes of the game, something he has never done in his coaching career.

"In high school we pressed the whole game," Adams said. "It was exciting. I didn't even know that we were going to press this year because last year they didn't do it so I thought this year it was going to be the same. So, I have no problem with it."

Now that the two 19-year-olds are out of high school, they both want a way to remember their hometowns.

So, last Thursday they both got tattoos. Iguodala got the Illinois capitol building and the "And One guy" on his right arm, while Adams got his hometown nickname, "hot sauce," on his left arm.

And they went together. Not even Gardner and Arenas did that.

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